by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The Supreme Court will soon consider whether to take up the long-awaited Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard case, which pits Harvard’s race-conscious admissions process against a group of Asian-American applicants who don’t fit into Harvard’s idea of “favored minorities.” The central idea behind the case is whether Harvard’s use of race to create what it sees as a “diverse” class runs afoul of the Fourteenth Amendment and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.
If there is one area in which the American elite seems to be moving in lockstep, it is increasing racial diversity. Many Fortune 500 businesses now operate Diversity and Inclusion offices. Every selective college is quick to tout its “diverse student body.” These initiatives sound good in theory, but the movement for racial diversity too often comes at the expense of hiring or admitting the most qualified candidate. Increasingly, the qualified candidate who gets denied is Asian-American—member of a minority group still considered, for diversity purposes, not in need of rescuing.
The reason why Harvard admissions officers don’t consider Asian-Americans a “minority” for assistance purposes is because in their eyes, Asian-Americans are too successful to be helped. As a group, Asian-Americans are socioeconomically on par with whites; educationally, they outpace whites (though there is nationwide variation, just as there is among any racial group). Yet, Asian-Americans did not gain their status in this country because of inherited “privilege”—as many on the left allege whites have done—but through a relentless focus on academic preparation and self-sufficiency. …
… The consequence of considering Asian-Americans unfavored minorities is clear: less qualified individuals from other social groups get their shot before Asian-Americans with higher qualifications do. According to Students for Fair Admissions’ analysis, a black applicant to Harvard in the 40th academic percentile of all applicants has a higher chance of admission than an Asian-American in the 90th academic percentile.